I’m aware of the potential issues of posting about this now, given that now more than ever is the time to be centring Black voices, not mine. I’m internally processing, asking myself questions and doing my work, which I think is likely to be a long, slow and difficult process at times.
What I do know is that silence is more harmful than speaking up. So I’m speaking up and open to feedback.
Why am I writing this today?
- To be clear about where I stand
- To explain why I think this topic is super relevant to food freedom and body liberation
- To give you some resources so you can begin your anti-racism journey (if you haven’t already)
Where I stand
Bottom line: I stand for and with Black and Minority Ethnic people and people from marginalised communities (whatever their skin tone). I commit to doing my part in unravelling my internalised racism and dismantling it in our culture. Enough about me.
Why this is relevant to food and body issues
We all live in a body.
We all eat food.
We all have a relationship with food and our bodies.
The work of coming to a place of peace with food and our bodies is about embodiment. We can only be embodied when we feel safe enough to do so. Trauma disrupts our sense of safety in our own bodies. Racism is traumatic.
ALL of us white people are perpetrating racism and therefore trauma, and many of us, including those of us who claim to not be racists, are doing it without meaning to, whatever our political persuasion. It doesn’t mean we’re bad people. Yet it is our responsibility to stop it so that all people can live peacefully in their bodies.
In addition, fatphobia has its roots in the fake ‘scientific racism’ which was a common belief system from the 17th century right until the end of the Second World War. Yes, you read that correctly. Maintaining and pursuing thinness was a way that white middle class people attempted to differentiate themselves from the Black ‘savage’ they were colonising and enslaving. The health argument came way after. It’s not the only thing that contributed to fatphobia, but it’s a big part of it.
As Martin Luther King Jr, Audre Lorde and Emma Lazarus have said in their own ways, no one is free until we’re all free.
I’m dedicated to co-creating a world in which all bodies are free and able to live life unapologetically. Right now, too many bodies don’t have that privilege. Too many bodies live in fear because of their bodies’ appearance and too many bodies don’t have food security.
That is why it’s important to me personally and relevant to my work.
In the mean time – this is not about me
It’s about Black and Brown lives that are being harmed every single day even when there’s no violence.
I believe it’s important for all of us to be actively doing the work to dismantle racism. There is no in between. Doing nothing is complying with the systems of oppression. To learn more about dismantling white privilege there are some amazing lists of resources out there to get started. They include articles, books, movies, podcasts and so on.
- Anti-racism Resource Guide
- Also this lecture by Robin DiAngelo on White Fragility is an excellent starting point for white people, particularly if you think you’re not a racist
Two fantastic books that are directly about the experience of our bodies and its relationship to racism and ‘othering’:
- Sabrina Strings” “Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia”
- Sonya Renee Taylor: “The Body is Not an Apology”
Here are some Instagram accounts you can follow of Black and Brown anti-racist activists, teachers, writers, dietitians, body liberation coaches, therapists and more.
Please donate if you can:
There are organisations out there who already have solutions. That doesn’t mean we don’t individually need to do our own internal work. We do. And, one way to really make an immediate difference is to give money to organisations that are doing the work to change the systems that keep institutionalised racism alive.
- Show Racism The Red Card
- Stand Up To Racism UK
- Stop Hate UK
- Southall Black Sisters
- UK Black Pride
- Black Lives Matter UK
May we all do whatever is needed individually and collectively so that all beings can be free and at peace.
Need help from an expert?
If you’ve had enough of being on and off a diet, feeling ashamed of your body and how you eat, binge eating or emotional overeating — you’ve come to the right place.
I’ll help you discover how to let go of all the food rules, trust your own body and reclaim your innate worthiness — so you can live your life unapologetically and focus on what really matters to you.